Autism spectrum disorder or what is generally known as autism is a condition that causes problems in communication and interaction. This condition begins in early childhood, where the children show symptoms that make them look “different” from other children. Here we show you the 8 top autism early signs that parents should know.
Based on the history of autism, this term was first used in 1908 by Eugen Bleuler. Eugen Bleuler is a psychiatrist that used that term to describe severe schizophrenic patients. After Eugen Blueler, the term autism started gaining attention again in 1943.
At that time, Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger worked separately, studying a group of children. Both of them describe several autism early signs in children with difficulties in social interactions. That is why until now autism is sometimes called Asperger’s syndrome too.
The research continued until in the 1970s autism can be better known and the therapy used for the children can widely be used. But for the cause of it, not until the 1980s that finally researchers can agree that parenting skills have nothing to do with autism. Autism happens because of abnormalities in brain development.
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Meaning of Autism
Based on its first use in 1908, the word autism comes from the Greek word “autós”. This word means self, but when it is used by Bleuler as “autism”, it means withdrawal within the self. Nowadays, children with autism are known as children with an autism spectrum disorder.
The addition of “spectrum” in the name of this disorder refers to the wide range of severity and type of symptoms of all patients so far. There are children with mild autism early signs, but on the other hand, there are also children which develop more severe symptoms.
Misconception About Autism
Because of the wide range of this disorder’s symptoms, many misconceptions of autism spread in society. These misconceptions will not give any help to the process of treatment and care for people with autism.
That is why you need to know all the truth behind every misconception below.
- Autism is a mental health disorder
This is a misconception that is often found in society. Autism is not a mental health disorder, but a neurological and developmental disorder. The mental condition of people with autism is nothing to do with the autism symptoms they have.
Yes, mental illness may occur alongside autism. For example, they may have anxiety or even depression that makes the symptoms get worse. But you cannot treat people with autism early signs the same as people with mental illness.
- Autism is caused by parenting style
At the beginning of the study of autism, Bruno Bettelheim claimed that autism is caused by the coldness of their mothers. But later in 1964, that statement was already argued. In the 1980s finally, researchers found out that parenting style does not cause Autism.
As autism starts to develop in the early life of the children, there are many autism early signs that you can notice. Meanwhile, parenting styles are not even significant at that phase. But parents indeed need to adjust their parenting style for children with autism.
- Children with autism cannot speak
Autism does not make children unable to speak. But they may have delayed speech as one of autism early signs. It happens because the problem is in the brain’s development. So it is expected that children with autism may have delayed speech.
But as they grow up, many children with autism can have well-developed speech. Again, autism has a very wide range. All the symptoms may vary for each child.
- Children with autism can be cured
All experts agree that autism cannot be cured. But people often have this misconception that autism symptoms will lessen as they grow up. It is not true. Autism cannot be cured, you only can prevent it from worsening as children with autism continue their life.
But you as parents can support your child with autism. They can “grow out” of autism early signs by focusing on the areas of the challenge of your child. But remember again that the challenge areas of every child can be very different.
8 Autism Early Signs
As autism begins in the early years of life, the fastest it is diagnosed the better treatment results can be given. Assessing the early signs of autism are crucial. As parents or soon-to-be parents, you will need the information about autism early signs below. Let’s check them out!
- Autism and eye contact
The first from many autism early signs that can be found in infants is poor eye contact. Infants with autism will always try to avoid eye contact. This sign is easy to notice, a majority of infants love to make eye contact with people around them.
- Emotion autism
Children with autism don’t express their emotions. They have difficulties expressing what they feel, except with crying. Besides that, autism also makes children unaware of others’ feelings. So it’s not only us who can’t understand their feelings, they can’t understand ours too.
- Speech delay autism
Autism is always related to speech delays. But some of them may have well-developed speech later when they grow up. But most infants with autism have this sign. They are not babbling by 12 months. And there are no one-word communications by 16 months and two-word communications by 24 months.
- Autism hand movements
There are many repetitive behaviors of children with autism, including their hand movements. They keep flapping hands, no matter what the situation or the place. If you see this and other autism early signs in your child, you need to get him/ her checked as soon as possible.
- Anger and autism
The behavior of children with autism is challenging. Tantrums may happen without any cue. Because of their anger, they may bang their head on the wall or bite their body. The same as other autism early signs, this sign needs a fast response from parents or guardians because it could cause self-harm.
- Aggression in autism
Different from the anger that children with autism have to themselves, they also have aggressive behavior toward others. They can display physically aggressive behavior that can harm others. For example, they may throw objects at people around them or hitting and biting others.
- Sleeping problem in autism
Another sign you need to be aware of is the sleeping problem of children with autism. They have difficulty sleeping at night like what common people do. They sleep but the sleeping patterns are unusual. For example, they may sleep all day but be energetic at night.
- Eating disorder and autism
You can take a look at your children’s eating plates too. Most children with autism have an eating disorder. They will keep eating the same type of food. Foods that they like are foods with salty and savory tastes.
OCD and Autism
OCD is another type of psychological disorder, but it is actually different from autism. But some of the symptoms of both disorders are indeed overlapped with each other. So, you can find some children with autism have OCD too.
Effect of Autism
Autism makes children look different and unusual. Because of that, there are many effects of autism that may happen in their lives. On the negative side, they may face bullying and many types of risk. But on the positive side, children with autism can claim some benefits.
Follow the list below to know more about the effect of autism.
Bullying and autism
Children with autism have difficulties with communication and interaction as autism early signs. It makes them very vulnerable to bullying. They can’t express or communicate their feelings. This way, they may accidentally offend other kids around them. And when they are being bullied, they may not even know at all.
This is why children with autism need parents, teachers, and peers who can accept and guide them well. They need to be approached slowly and with care.
Risk for autism
Many types of risks can affect children with autism life. It is important to look at the health risk they may face. Children with autism as they grow up may experience immune disorders. So they tend to be easier sick than most children.
In the early life of them, diseases like allergies and asthma can easily attack their health. This information is related to one of many autism early signs where they don’t eat much and can’t sleep properly.
Positive support for children with autism
Children with autism can get financial support from society. There are many types of financial support available for them until 15 years old. They are Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children, Disabled Child Element of Child Tax Credit, and also School Transport Fee. You can get more detailed information about this on Autism Organization websites.
How to Deal With Autism?
If you are the parents of children with autism, you may feel afraid of what you may face ahead. But you can do many things to help your child. There is a guide that can help you deal with your child without many confusing situations.
First, you need to be aware of your child’s development. If you find any developmental delays, start the treatment as soon as possible. Don’t try to search for any reasons to argue that your child is not having autism early signs. If you wait any longer, the problem will only get bigger.
Second, dealing with children with autism needs consistency. You can’t keep changing your schedule or routine. Stick to it to prepare your children to deal with the common society outside the home. It is the same in dealing with their challenging behaviors. If you want your child to stop harming her/himself, keep the consistency to prevent it.
Third, you can reward good behavior your child shows. If they learn a new skill successfully, then reward it with a favorite toy. This way, your child will want to keep learning every day. And day by day, the severity of the symptoms can be reduced.
Last but not least, you need help and support. There are many communities and support groups. Join them and follow their events. It will surely help you to deal with your child for the next years ahead.
What’s the Difference Between Autism and Down Syndrome??
There are many cases where children have both autism and down syndrome. This makes most people then have difficulties to differentiate both of them when they are actually very different.
The first difference between autism and down syndrome is the cause of it. Down syndrome is a genetic condition where children have an extra copy of chromosome 21. Meanwhile, autism is a brain development disorder. Autism has nothing to do with chromosome abnormalities.
You can also differentiate autism and down syndrome by the physical conditions of both children. Children with down syndrome have typically the same type of flat face, small ears, and slant upwards eyes. But children with autism do not look like that. Children with autism have a normal physical appearance. There are no autism early signs that related to physical appearance.
But autism may indeed occur along with down syndrome in a child. But conceptually, both of them are not the same.
Is Autism Considered a Disability?
Even children with autism look normal on the outside, autism is considered a disability. Autism makes children have differences in the way they interact and communicate with other people. It may not look dangerous, but it is potentially disabling. So yes, autism is a type of disability.
What is Autism Meltdown?
Tantrums and anger in autism are early signs that are widely understood. But do you know that there is a meltdown condition that is completely different from what happens in a tantrum?
Meltdown in autism is a condition where the children lose their behavioral control. In meltdown situations, children with autism typically will scream, hurt themselves, attack others, and throw things. But it happens without intention or purpose. That is what makes it different from a tantrum.
When the meltdown happens, it cannot simply be stopped like a tantrum when the intention is fulfilled. The meltdown needs to calm itself down, we cannot do anything about it. This is what makes autism very tiring for parents. Especially if the meltdown happens frequently as one of autism early signs.
If the treatment for autism goes well, the frequency of meltdown can decrease significantly. And it will surely help the parents’ load so much.
Is Autism a Neurological Disorder?
Autism is a neurological disorder. The different brain development begins in the early life of the child. And later this neurological disorder developed into a developmental disorder too.
Later the children will show autism early signs. Like how the development of their speech and social skills are delayed and different with other children. Autism has no cure. Only intensive care and treatment that can lessen the negative effect of this disorder.
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